It seems that North Texas and surrounding areas have become the center of foundation repair scams for the entire country. I understand there are over three hundred and fifty foundation repair companies operating in North Texas. While I don’t doubt the number it would be extremely hard to document an exact count. Foundation companies pop up, come and go, change names, change owners and disappear almost every day. All it takes is a pick-up truck, a couple of laborers and you too can be a foundation repair contractor. It is easy to be fooled by media advertising and cheap prices.
I have been involved with the foundation repair business for nearly forty years. I have seen foundation repair scams come and go. Often leaving a trail of failed foundation repairs and unhappy customers. The point is, there are a lot of pier salesmen and consequently a lot of scams.
Richard Rash in pier hole 1981
Many believe most foundation failures are the result of droughts. This is basically not true! Droughts before and during construction can be the beginning of a chain of events that lead to foundation movement and damage, but is not usually the trigger to the event. When the soil shrinks before or during construction then after construction is completed the rains come and soils swell, causing foundations to twist and damage to appear. Any drought is going to cause foundation movement down the line. Foundations poured during a drought are likely to experience swelling soils as time goes by. Contributing to the problem is we have basically been in a series of droughts, off and on since the 1930’s and since concrete should not be poured in wet soil, most foundations are poured during hot weather which is conducive to dry and shrunken or contracted soil.
If our areas was not so hilly the movement would not be so wide spread. When rains come, soils on the high side of the structure are more likely to retain water and swell than soils on the down side where the water runs off. When the soils expand unevenly the twisting occurs. Proper preventive foundation drainage protection can alleviate most of the movement and can prevent additional movement by avoiding the need for the soils to dry out and lose volume.
When you understand that foundation problems, while numerous, do not affect the majority of buildings in our area, it makes sense that those constructed on unlevel streets, with foundations poured in hot weather are the leading candidates for foundation problems and the leading candidates for proper preventive foundation drainage.
In other words proper preventive foundation drainage is usually the best way to prevent, stop or reverse foundation damage. By limiting soils expansion after initial rains, and in turn, contracting as the ground drys, there is less pressure on the foundation which equals less chance of the foundation moving. This will mean less chance of signs of foundation damage, which means less need for piers, which means a better, cheaper and longer lasting resolution to the problem of foundation movement and damage in areas of expansive soils.
If the homeowner knows it has heaved, then it only makes sense to let the soil dry. It will come back down naturally, to near original grade. This can take a year or more before you should even consider piers. At that point usually, the need for piers is gone.
When that happens there goes the salesman’s commission check. Bottom line: foundations fail for many reasons and usually, in areas of expansive soils, that does not mean that they need piers. Foundation companies thrive selling piers, strong pier salesmen make a good selling piers, and are trained to sell piers, many times when piers are not the least expensive option, best option or even a viable option, it’s just the only option that makes them money.
Other areas that would be included in scams, frauds and omissions which I would be happy to explain:
Helping my customers understand and avoid these and other scams, frauds and omissions are a part of my service. Contact me to see what I can do for you. Richard Call/Text 817-308-8186
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Richard Rash, The Foundation Man. Call/Text: 817-308-8186 email: firstname.lastname@example.org